Mattel’s DC Multiverse 6″ figure series ushers in the Dawn of Justice with new cinematic heroes.
2016 is here, and so are the first new toys of the year. Mattel beat everyone to the draw with their new 6″ scale DC Multiverse toy line, which features characters from every iteration of DC, from movies to TV to comic books. There are a few waves hitting retail right now, one of which features the big hitters from the upcoming Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. Included in this assortment are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Batman in his Kryptonian-fighting battle armor.
Superman is virtually the same as the Movie Masters Man of Steel figure, just with brighter colors on his costume and a new headsculpt that honestly felt like a step down in quality to me, so he was a pass. Likewise, I wasn’t impressed with the basic Batman figure… there just seems to be something off about his sculpt.
It made more sense when I learned later that Armored Batman and Wonder Woman– the two figures I opted to pick up– are the two movie figures designed by the Four Horsemen, who are apparently participating part time on the Multiverse line. While they’re not perfect, both of their new DC movie figures definitely live up to the Horsemen’s legendary reputation.
Wonder Woman is the more mixed of the two figures. There’s a lot to love about this figure; her costume is packed with detail, and has a great, practical texture to it. The figure features lots of great articulation, including some joints I haven’t seen in Mattel’s DC figures before now, like the swivel at the elbows. And Wonder Woman’s accessories, an Amazonian sword and shield, look great, packed with the same ornate and battle-worn detail as her armor.
But despite these highlights, there’s some things that just don’t add up on Wonder Woman. The Gal Gadot portrait is decent, and I have a feeling the sculpt itself is great… but it’s buried under heavy paint that softens the likeness. This stems from the second issue with the figure’s head– her hair is sculpted as one piece with the rest of her head, making it very hard and very prohibitive to neck movement. Between this and the lackluster swivel cut waist, Wonder Woman’s torso movement is quite limited. Overall, the figure’s proportions are good, although I also feel the legs are too skinny. The thin thighs, which are roughly the same girth as the calves, give the figure an awkward silhouette, and diminish from her feminine appearance.
The Armored Batman figure is much more a straight-up success. This big, bulky figure plays to the Horsemen’s strengths, and their sculpt really shines. What could have been boring– a Batman figure in an entirely gunmetal grey outfit– becomes very visually dynamic thanks to the weathering sculpted on each plate of armor, accented by a silver wash that conveys a real sense of metal. Even Batman’s cape gets a great, subtle bit of texturing, which adds to the realistic nature of the figure.
Batman features the same articulation pattern as Wonder Woman, but with a more useful neck joint and an added ab crunch, which helps a lot for action poses. The figure includes his Grapnel gun as the only accessory, but he can hold the weapon well enough (despite his lack of a sculpted trigger finger). This armor was obviously inspired by Frank Miller’s design in The Dark Knight Returns, right down to the spiky cleats on the bottom of Batman’s boots, and going by this figure, I think the design was translated successfully.
Each figure in the Batman vs. Superman Multiverse series includes a “Collect and Connect” piece, as well, with a new twist on the old concept. Instead of a figure, the C-N-C for this line is a 1:1 scale prop replica of Batman’s Grapnel Gun. It’s a neat concept, offering a new direction for the old pack-in gimmick, though for me personally it’s not a strong enough motivator to go all-in on this eight figure toy line.
The DC Multiverse is clearly taking a page from the Marvel Legends playbook, mixing comic book figures alongside movie and TV toys anchored around the most current properties. Hasbro has had a lot of success with this structure with Legends, and with a stronger TV presence in addition to comics and movies, the DC stable is potentially even bigger. So while Mattel’s new line may not be the most original concept, it’s smart for them to ape such a winning strategy. And if they can keep delivering figures of the quality of Armored Batman and Wonder Woman, the new Multiverse could be the perfect return of DC to the toy aisle.